With 2019 now in the back pocket, I’m reflecting on the past 365 days and how my life has changed in that time. As fate would have it, I visited The Outpost for the first time exactly one year ago today.

At the time, it wasn’t on the market. It was owned by a friend from Twitter. I drove up in my Suzuki Swift to meet her at her little paradise. Also to see if there were any interesting properties for sale farther north. I’d had a funny feeling I’d find our paradise in January, but I had no idea it was this one for a few months.

I spent February and March a bit bummed I hadn’t found a property. But it was seed collecting season so I busied myself collecting every seed I could get my hands on in my garden. I also launched a dried catnip product harvested from my garden, marking the beginnings of a new business venture I hope to keep expanding this year.

In April, we wrote the Suzuki off. No-one was hurt, but the damage sustained in the incident cost more to fix than it was insured for. Again, the twists and turns of fate were working. Turns out this little incident was pretty crucial to our ability to move. We absolutely needed a car that could help us get our collection of animals and plants here. The Suzuki was not the right car.

By the end of the month, we purchased a RAV4 with a towbar. A couple of weeks later, we were asked if we might be interested in purchasing The Outpost too. Richard came up with me for his first visit in early May. He took a bit of convincing, but we decided to go for it. It was by far and away the best property we’d seen, and the price was juuuust doable.

The purchase took a few months to go through. We didn’t visit again until mid-July. The wait felt excruciating, but looking back it really wasn’t that long. On July 30 2019, The Outpost became ours. I came up the next day to collect the keys and plant my first crop of garlic.

We took the month of August to slowly move our stuff up. A friend of mine needed a place to stay so hung out in the caravan for that month to keep an eye on the place. We borrowed a trailer from Dad, and each weekend brought up a car and trailer-load of whatever made sense at the time.

We purchased our 20ft container from a family member and made arrangements to have it transported north with all our worldly possessions inside. We visited the vets to reduce the stress of the move on the cats. We gave up our pig, Shirley, because we realised we couldn’t keep her here safely.

We were living at The Outpost for real by my 37th birthday in September. Since then, we’ve begun weed eradication projects, dug new gardens, put a lot of plants in the ground, painted the front of the house, adopted a bunny, welcomed ducklings, and mowed a lot of grass.

So we have reached the end of 2019. I’m not entirely sure what 2020 holds, but in the spirit of publicly stating my goals for this place, here’s a few ideas:

  • Finish building the shed.
  • Start the plans for the wetland restoration – get some experts in for some ideas and to scope the project. Begin applying for grants.
  • Secure our water supply.
  • Get geotech reports done on our preferred building site for the house.
  • Cull out our first cow for the freezer. Get some more cows.
  • Obliterate the possums.
  • Cook my first duck a l’orange using my Nana’s recipe.
  • Get a pest-proof vege garden growing to support us. Experiment with a Ruth Stout garden.
  • Plant at least 300 trees.
  • Remove every single mature Taiwan cherry tree within our boundaries.

It’ll be a busy year. Hopefully it holds a few nice surprises and some of you might even drop by to say hello (we’ll need a hand planting those trees!)

Fingers crossed for as little trouble as possible and getting a bit closer to the dream this year.